MESA, Ariz. (May 9, 2018) - In an historic match at Mesa Community College’s John Riggs Stadium, Sporting AZ FC (UPSL) defeated FC Arizona (NPSL) 1-0 in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night. It was the clubs’ first meeting, and the first appearance in the tournament for FC Arizona.
The match itself was a physical, emotional affair, featuring multiple yellow cards and just the one goal. In the end, it was team captain Jon Guse who in the 73rd minute would bury the ball in the back of the net to cap a chaotic corner kick sequence assisted by Eijin Kishimoto.
Guse also denied FC Arizona a golden opportunity to take the lead in the first half, when he slid from behind to break up a play in Sporting’s six-yard box.
“It was a tough game,” Guse said after the match. “Obviously, we battled back and forth. There wasn’t a whole lot going on, first half. Not a whole ton of chances.”
The quality opportunities were few and far between, by the standards of Sporting AZ FC, which boasts 12 goals in its last four league matches. However, Eijin Kishimoto was extremely active on the wing, and he, along with forwards Ryan Flood and Alejandro Aguilar, kept the FC Arizona defense on the back foot throughout the match.
Sporting goalkeeper Andrew Weber recorded yet another clean sheet on the evening. Sporting AZ FC has not allowed a goal in a competitive match since November 18, 2017 against Galati FC in the Open Cup’s final round of Arizona qualifying.
Sporting will face a very tough opponent in the second round, as they host Phoenix Rising FC of the United Soccer League. Rising FC currently sits second in the Western Conference with 18 points through nine matches. As Arizona United SC in 2014, the club made the deepest Open Cup run in Arizona history, falling to LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer in the fourth round.
The second round match will be played on Wednesday, May 16, at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Ariz. Ticket information and match details will be available in the coming days.
Sporting AZ FC starters: Andrew Weber, David Paul, Jon Guse, Dom Papa, Eijin Kishimoto, Mo Salama, Ryan Flood, Paul LaMarca, Tony Cascio, David Alton, Alejandro Aguilar
Subs: Danny Arellano, Danny Arrubla, Chris Green. Roberto DeLima, Colin Kim, Jose Ramos, Nick Morgan
FC Arizona starters: Manuel Campos Flores, Ignacio Cancela, Edgar Ignacio Coba Madrigal, Esteban De La Cruz SantaCruz, Andres Delgadillo Ortega, Joshua Drack-Asami, Tyler Feeley, Blake Lynch, Aidan McGlothan, Kevin Riascos
Subs: John Miller, Brian Perea, Justin Rasmussen, Jurgen Renteria, Nikolai Shumov, Santos Villasenor